DESCRIPTION

          On the way north, two deep canyons (Barranco Seco and Barranco de La Galga) identify an area from the edge of the Caldera descending into a sharp slope defining a triangular figure.

          As municipality bordering to Santa Cruz de La Palma and San Andrés y Sauces it has an area of 35 square kilometres and 2480 inhabitants registered, distributed by the neighbourhoods of Tenagua, Santa Lucia, San Juan de Puntallana, El Granel and La Galga. The main capital of the municipality, San Juan de Puntallana is on 420m of altitude.

          The town streches from the sea to the summit in a triangle of fertile land blessed by the winds (alisios) carrying the clouds feeding important water aquifers and numerous springs.

          Since immemorial times Puntallana has been characterized as the town with the highest cereal production of the island. The economy is still based on the primary sector bearing great importance on the monoculture of bananas and stock breeding, which continues its progression.

          Nine mountains stand out in a landscape of recognized botanist value; the laurel forest surrounds the lives of their residents who for generations have learned to live from the fruits that gave them the ground. This territory has been rejuvenated of a set of volcanic episodes that occurred along the Pleistocene geological period and now are represented by a dual mountain range that interrupts the slope at different altitudes. The lava from these eruptions headed towards the coast and after overwhelm the ancient coastal cliff gained ground from the sea and so built a broad platform on the coastline, which gives its name to the town Puntallana (punta = end, llana = even) and represents the part of land more out to sea of the whole eastern seaboard.


HISTORY AND SIGHTS

          The chroniclers named the district as the seventh kingdom of the island with the name Tenagua. The fertile lands and plains of Tenagua attracted the interest of the Europeans from the moment of their arrival. They quickly built a church and around her appeared a centre of population, the result of crossbreeding between the people coming from the continent and of the relatives of the Guanche King Atavara. So the town of San Juan de Puntallana rised up but time passed until 1818 to get the municipality.

          The exact date on which the church of San Juan de Puntallana was built is unknown because the parish file got burned. It should have been recently completed the conquest of the island because in 1515 the temple built in Puntallana in honour of San Juan was declared a parish church and bautismal. The declaration was later confirmed by the Royal Degree of Emperor Charles V, December 15, 1533.

          Puntallana was the granary of the island until beginning of the last century. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a period of plentiful harvests of wheat, which excess was being exported by sea through natural creeks as Puerotrigo (port of wheat) or Puertopaja (port of straw), whose names make memory of such activities. There are other names in the town which also refer to their traditional vocation like El Granel whose name is given by a former silo (bulk) where neighbours kept the wheat.

          He reached the municipal independence following the promulgation of the Constitution of 1812, naming for the first time its own municipality.

          The economic development has always been characterized as well by periods of bad harvests and famine, causing a flow of emigrants to Cuba and Venezuela in search of a new future.

          The legend of Lover´s Leap: This legend is situated in an imposing cliff located on the coast of La Galga in the most northern part of the municipality of Puntallana. As has been said in this place lived a pastor who dedicated his life to guide his herds through the steep mountains and deep cliffs that characterize the above mentioned area.

          In the same district there lived a girl whose beauty awoke in the fearless shepherd an irresistible attraction. But she rested in disdain to the repeated request of love, which helped to ignite further his passion for the young women. Wishing herself to be free of persistent harassment of love she offered him her heart and her hand exchanging with a dangerous test, probably thinking that he would not even accept such a challenge. To take her as his wife he had to rotate three times on his spear supported on the edge of the cliff leaving his body completely unfasten in the air. Although the risk of the proof was very clear the love of the shepherd was stronger than the danger and he accepted the unique pact.

          At the appointed time the pastor in love went to the agreed place and encouraged by the burning feeling in his heart he fixed the top of his spear at the very edge of the precipice and was ready to do the jump. “In the name of God!” he invoked and launched his body outside of the cliff which described a circle in the air before returning to the rock. “In the name of the Virgin!” he claimed the second time and returned to turn his body in the air to regain land. Then, seeing the consummation of the feat that would decide his fate, holding up his hands he exclaimed: “In the name of my beloved!” and launched for the third time his body, revolved a few moments in the air but he could not reach the edge of the cliff and fell rushed to the sea. The fact is that since this moment that site is known as Lover´s Leap (Salto del Enamorado).


HOW TO GET

          Whether from the airport of La Palma or from the port of Santa Cruz de La Palma we get to this municipality on the road C-830 (the hull of the town is about 10 km from the capital Santa Cruz and 18 km from the airport).


PLACES OF INTEREST

 

Nogales Beach: Located in a place of unique beauty formed by rocks and cliffs. Access on a small footpath. Fine black sand beach where you can observe sea turtles. Protected by the law of natural spaces. Special attention with strong currents in the sea!

 

 

Vantage Points: San Bartolomé, located next to the chapel with the same name in the neighbourhood of La Galga, presents us the imposing canyon of La Galga, as well as its popular bridge and the houses of the neighbouring municipality of San Andrés y Sauces. On its way to Santa Cruz you can take a break in Las Vueltas de San Juanito, bordering on the Barranco Seco; from there you have a fantastic view to the beautiful landscape until the coast of the island.

Cordonal (cactus grove) Luis Martin: One of the most important areas of the island, not only for its natural beauty but for hosting the biggest reserve of cardones on the island. It is located next to the road from Tenagua to Martin Luis.

Cubo de La Galga: Together with Los Tilos it is one of the most important forests of La Palma. This laurel forest of singular beauty offers his visitor places of shady grove, the fragrance of its greenery, tiles, laurels, vineyards, chestnut trees and other species, especially the big ferns, competing in search of the sun.

 

 

 

House Luján: Traditional Canarian architecture built in the mid-nineteenth century, recently been restored. Inside of the house you can find an ethnographic museum and selling of agricultural products and crafts.
It is a building of two floors with Arabic tiles, wooden banisters, covered by the extension of the roof, big windows in the front and a walled courtyard. In 1970 it was Town Hall and its cellar hosted the local primary school.

Churches: The church of San Juan, located in the centre of the municipality, has category as parish since 1515, with a magnificent baroque altarpiece of golden wood which hosts the holy patron, flemish carving of the sixteenth century. The Mudejar tradition is represented in the laboriously painted wood in blue.

Near of the mountain Centinela of Tenagua you can find Santa Lucia. From the ancient centre of the village stand out the chapel that shelter the statue of the Virgin of Santa Lucia from Antwerp (sixteenth century).

She attends the people of the whole island to pray for the health of their eyes. Near of the mountain of La Galga you can find the small chapel of San Bartolomé (sixteenth century); its white walls shelter the “Virgin of Our Lady of Piety” (Virgen de Nuestra Señora de la Piedad).


FESTIVITIES

May, 3: The Cross (La Cruz)

June, 24: San Juan: Main festival of the municipality where the fires the night before enclose the magic shortest night of the year.

July: “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in Tenagua

August, 24: San Bartolomé in La Galga